I was wondering what expression should I use when I only want to try the shoes/clothes on, but not buy them.

Sometimes, I answer 'they are fine, but could you put them back for me?' That doesn't make too much sense, right? Due to my vague answer, the salesperson may ask 'do you want me to wrap this for you?' or 'do you want to pay?'

What should I answer in this situation? Doesn't a straight 'no' sound too harsh? What is the native expression?

  • 4
    "Not quite what I'm looking for."
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 1:21
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is more about etiquette than the English language.
    – Mick
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 2:03
  • What is the question the salesperson is asking you that you need an answer to? In terms of politeness the easiest thing to do is often to lie...
    – AndyT
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 16:13
  • Before you tried on the shoes or the clothes, were you considering buying them? In other words, if the shoes or clothes had looked better or felt better while you were wearing them, would you have bought them?
    – Jasper
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 5:16

2 Answers 2


"I'm just browsing" or "I'm just looking" both work when you are just going into stores to look at things but have no intention of making a purchase.


There isn't really a fixed expression. It's generally understood that if you have reached the point of asking a salesperson to help you are at least in principle ready to buy.

However, if there are no other customers, and you really want to see what your feet look like in a particular pair of shoes you have options. You can either be honest:

Those shoes look amazing, could I try them on, even though I could never afford them.


Would it be possible for my just to try on those shoes. I can't buy them today

Alternatively, you can lie. Pretend that you have decided not to buy them

... Hmm, perhaps not, not really my style. Thanks anyway.

In the first case you can't complain if the sales person says "no". In the second the sales staff will quickly recognise you if you try it too often. It is rude to take up too much of their time, especially if there are genuine customers waiting.

I can't remember any shopkeeper offering to wrap anything in the UK (unlike in Japan) Perhaps I just don't go to the right type of shop. But if a salesperson had misunderstood me and asked "Do you want to pay", I'd just repeat what I had said earlier: "Sorry, no, like I said, they're beautiful but far to expensive for me", or (if I was pretending) "Sorry, they're not my style, I think I'll look elsewhere".

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